I’ve never had an anxiety attack, but one of my best friends struggles with them. It is for this person—along with anyone else reading this who shares the same battle—I offer the following thoughts, Bible verses, and prayer.
My son had an anxiety attack once. He was taking a Fire Fighting course in college, and was tasked with crawling through a long, narrow tube. He was a few feet in when the attack suddenly hit him. He told me the first thought to flash through his mind was, “I’m going to die right here, right now, and they’re going to have to cut my cold, dead corpse out of this STUPID tube.”
He said, “Dad, I was terrified. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced.”
Another friend of mine just recently suffered her first panic attack. She had fallen asleep, but woke up an hour or so later, her heart beating out of her chest, with a terrible feeling of dread. She got out of bed and went to the living room, breathing deep and pacing for several minutes, scared to lie back down, even when the feelings began to fade.
“I still didn’t want to go back to bed,” she told me. “I was afraid I was going to die.”
I’ve heard from three separate people the same type of symptoms. That’s why some of the verbiage in the following scripture reading struck me as similar to how it must feel. These passages were written by King David, while suffering heartache, fear and anxiety, brought on by enemies seeking to kill him. The part in bold seemed especially appropriate:
“Hear me, O God. Tune Your ear to my plea, and do not turn Your face from my prayer. Give me Your attention. Answer these sighs of sorrow; my troubles have made me restless—I groan from anxiety. My heart seizes within my chest; I am in anguish! I am terrified my life could end on any breath. I shiver and shudder in fear; I can’t stop because this horror is just too much.
“I wish I had wings like a dove, so I could fly far away and be at peace. I would go and live in some distant desert. I would quickly find shelter from howling winds and raging storms.
“But I will call upon the Lord to save me—and He will. I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and He will hear and answer. Though the tide of battle runs strongly against me, for so many are fighting me, yet He will rescue me.(Psalm 55:1-2, 4-8, 16-18).”
I know you wish you could sprout wings and soar, far away from these troubles, but unfortunately, this isn’t reality. You must stay and fight. You must decide to win.
That’s right: make the conscious decision to never give up, never give in, never surrender. Press on with the assurance that God WILL rescue. Not might or hope, but will.
I have not the training to offer you a blog on “tips to overcoming anxiety.” What I am offering are the words of a man who lived many thousands of years ago, yet shares in your suffering.
Additionally, I offer the following prayer on your behalf:
“Jesus, first I would like to thank You for Your many blessings. I offer You praise for dying for us, and for the promise of Your imminent return. I would like to pray for all those who struggle with anxiety today, Lord. I pray that, when these dreaded spells hit, You dissolve the terrible symptoms rapidly. Jesus, You said, ‘I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27).’ Invade our hearts with Your peace, God, which surpasses all understanding. Guard our hearts and our minds, Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Give us the strength to hold on to You, and to ride out this dreaded storm, until the Son shines brightly in our spirit again.
“For those terrified to go back to sleep, Lord, I offer Psalms 4:8, which says, ‘I will lie down in peace and sleep, for though I am alone, O Lord, you will keep me safe.’
“Nothing but peace.
“Precious peace, in Your name I pray. Amen.”